WATCH: Protesters Outside Virginia Governor’s Mansion Demand Ralph Northam’s Resignation

Democrat scandals
AP Photo/Steve Helber

Protesters gathered outside of the Virginia Governor’s Mansion on Saturday demanding embattled Gov. Ralph Northam resign after a photo resurfaced this week of him and another person wearing blackface and Ku Klux Klan garb.

RVA Dirt, a self-described “grassroots” political group, organized the protest outside of the Governor’s Mansion in response to the racist photo’s reemergence. The protesters began arriving at Northam’s residence at around 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time and were armed with signs demanding that he step down.

“We trusted you, Ralph,” one sign read.

Another said, “Evict Northam”:

Northam appears to have almost no choice but to resign after losing support from virtually the entire state Democrat party and other key allies, who urged the governor to leave office because of a racist photo in which he appeared more than 30 years ago.

The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, the state House Democratic Caucus, and the state Senate Democratic Caucus called on Northam to resign late Friday, along with several key progressive groups that have been some of the governor’s closest political allies.

Their calls for Northam to step down came in a wave late Friday after the Democrat apologized for appearing in a photo in which one person is dressed in blackface and another is wearing a full Ku Klux Klan uniform. The photo appeared in his 1984 medical school yearbook.

The yearbook images were first published Friday afternoon by the conservative news outlet Big League Politics. The Virginian-Pilot later obtained a copy from Eastern Virginia Medical School, which Northam attended. The photo shows two people looking at the camera — one in blackface wearing a hat, bow tie, and plaid pants. The other is in a full Ku Klux Klan robe.

In his first apology, issued in a written statement, Northam called the costume he wore “clearly racist and offensive,” but he did not say which one he had worn.

He later issued a video statement saying he was “deeply sorry” but still committed to serving the “remainder of [his] term.”

“I accept responsibility for my past actions, and I am ready to do the hard work of regaining your trust,” Northam said.

A small number of protesters stood outside of the governor’s mansion Saturday to demand his resignation.

Northam appears to have virtually no path forward to remain in office without any institutional support. His departure would mean current Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, a Democrat who is only the second African American to win statewide office in Virginia, would be the next governor. Northam’s term was set to end in 2022.

State Sen. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, a close ally of Northam and longtime African American lawmaker, said black leaders felt “mortally wounded” by the photo and that he has no option but to resign.

“He betrayed us,” she told the Associated Press on Saturday.

Others said there is no question he should step down. Among them are Democrat presidential hopefuls Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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